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Cassidy Dives Deep On The Struggles Of The Power Play

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

There is nothing more in the game of hockey that excites Bruce Cassidy than the power play. He’s outright mentioned it before and his passion comes through in spades every time he’s asked a question about it.

Despite winning the Stanley Cup, it’s not hard to see that he is still frustrated with the lack of success the Golden Knights have had since he took over as head coach.

VGK currently sit in 22nd place with an 18.7% rate on the power play. There’s not a single team currently in the playoff picture worse. Going back further, the Golden Knights are at 19.5% in the regular season under Cassidy and were a tick better at 21.9% in the playoffs.

Where we are now to me is not acceptable. We should be better. I think our players understand that, it’s just getting them to buy into the mindset and we’ll keep working at it. -Cassidy

During an off-day press conference following a light optional skate, Cassidy spoke for more than three minutes straight about the ailing power play. His first, and foremost, point was regarding the mentality of the players sent over the boards to get the job done.

I think it’s a mindset. I think we force plays. We want to make the play that results in the goal right away when teams are fresh. Our efficiency in passing around teams to stretch them out of their coverage lacks patience… I’ve asked our players on the power play, get out there a little early and own it and work on it and have a conversation. We give you a framework on how to work, we give you the information on what the other team is going to do. Let’s go through the checklist of plays. We recommend this, this, and this, but that may be taken away. But you should always have four or five options because we have five players on the ice to their four so one of those five guys is eventually going to be open no matter how they cover us, so let’s make sure we recognize that. There’s the quarterback of the power play that has to be more in tune, a student of the game. So we’ve got to build that in. It’s a mindset of taking ownership of it.

He continued on to explain the challenges of practicing power play and why he believes the onus is on the players involved to take it upon themselves rather than relying on coaching.

You work on it in practice but if you go out there at 5-on-0 and run through your plays, you get your plays checked off but without live pressure are you really getting better at it because you’re not performing under pressure? That’s how you usually get better at things, you do them at a high rate against pressure so in the game it becomes second nature and it’s easy. So now you put the other players out there (to penalty kill in practice) and they start hounding pucks and it’s like ‘oh I don’t want to hit my own defensemen with a shot.’ -Cassidy

Amazingly though, despite his obsession with it, Cassidy does not have unrealistic expectations for the VGK PP.

We understand that we have good players but the top power plays always have those 100-point guys, the guy that’s exceptional at it. We feel we have lots of good players and our power play should be better. Should we be an elite power play? I’m not going to go that far, but I saw it function at different times here where we were up at 10th which is good because the rest of our game is solid. -Cassidy

Finally, he’s far from ready to give up on it. It may appear to be a lost cause after 150+ games of struggles and players in and out of the lineup, but there’s still a quiet confidence that it will get better.

We’ve tried more this year. Last year there was a lot of stuff going on, we were trying to coach a lot of different things. This year it’s like, we need to fix that. I was quite open about our special teams this summer that it needed to be better. Even though we’re Stanley Cup champions that’s one area we haven’t gotten to that we want to get to… Yet. There’s time, but we haven’t gotten there yet. -Cassidy

With 14 games left in the season, there is still time to turn it around. It won’t be easy, but rest assured, the head coach of this team is never going to stop trying to figure it out.


Return Of The Forecheck




  1. I have 3 simple suggestions:

    Win faceoffs and set up zone time

    Shoot the damn puck

    Station a man in front to attempt put backs off of rebounds and to screen the goalie

  2. Vegas struggles because of their reluctance to screen goalie even though they are facing the shooter most of the time and way too slow at passing the puck around quickly which negates shooting the puck. They seem to be looking for that perfect shot which doesn’t exist normally. The lack of results has proven this is not in their favor with that mind set. Teams have their number on how they operate which leads to being scored upon. ” We give them a framework on how to work, we give them the information on what the other team is going to do”. I would venture to say all coaches do similar things but apparently, they must have better listeners or quicker leaners and act accordingly. The lack of PP production could very well be their demise going forward if they expect to make the playoffs. My hope that is not the case however the door is closing fortunately the Wild lost last night.

  3. Larry, you are right and that’s pretty simple

  4. Larry, that definitely seems very simple and doable.

  5. It’s 5:55 and as of now Preds 2-0 at the panthers and blues 3-1 after 2 at the senators, might be a good idea for the boys to come to play tonight??

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